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How do they do that?

EIGHT OF THE BEST Radio 4FM, Saturdays, beginning November 4, 10.45pm

I clearly remember putting my head in my hands, tears welling up in my eyes. I had a terrible sinking feeling that I wasn't going to pass my GCSE maths and wouldn't be able to go to the college I desperately wanted to attend. I didn't have a glimmer of hope left that was until the help I never dreamt of receiving arrived, in the form of Mrs Wall."

This heartfelt, exam-angst letter was sent to Radio 4 by a 16-year-old student, in response to an appeal for nominations for the country's eight most inspirational teachers. But if you're wondering what it was about Mrs Wall's lessons that made maths more than a black hole of depression, you can hear for yourself. In Eight of the Best, beginning tomorrow night, you can eavesdrop on the lessons of the winning teachers.

The series begins with an A-level history lesson by Lena McMorrow, a teacher at St Mary's, a girls' secondary school in Derry. Her subject in the broadcast is the 1916 Easter Rising, a battle between Irish Republicans and the British army that has particular resonances for classes in Northern Ireland.

Maureen Hartley, deputy head of St Clare's RC primary school in Handsworth, Birmingham, has developed a multi-racial reading scheme, and in this series is heard teaching a class of five-year-olds about the different ways in which people communicate. Her school has also recently won Pounds 100,000 in a Jerwood Award for educational achievement, the first primary school to win such an award.

Other teachers presented as shining examples in this series include a GCSE biology teacher in the north east, a geography teacher at a Hereford sixth form college and a French teacher in Troon, Scotland.

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